I have great respect and love for many of this way. It grieves my heart that they will be hurt and think I turned from God. I will NEVER do that. And I’ve never been closer to him. These people are the reason it’s taken me so long to send this letter. God has brought and is bringing me through the darkest days of my life. I love him and trust him like I didn’t know was possible. I am so glad for salvation. For His promise to be with us, dwell in us, teach and lead us.
Contrary to what some will say, I haven’t left God, lost my faith, got a bad sprit, been offended or any of the other excuses that are given when people leave this church. I simply want to be part of a biblical fellowship – beginning with the true teaching of salvation and baptism. (As of 12/10/2016 my family has been told not to come to fellowship meetings, so my leaving is somewhat of a moot point).
When Joe Laymen left for Haiti he urged us to know our Bibles. To know them so we won’t be deceived. I don’t ever remember hearing that before, but it stayed with me. Then Pat left and my world was destroyed in an instant. All I lived for – my family – my hopes and dreams and plans. By the grace of God, that experience drove me to my knees instead of turning me against God. Almost no one from meeting supported us and many drew away.
That resulted in learning the truth that truly God is all I have. Without him I have nothing. Consequently I entered into a deeper, fuller relationship with God. For that I am thankful. Only by His grace am I not dead or insane. He revealed himself to me so personally and was so very real to me and answered desperate cries and prayers. I wish I could articulate it better because this is so inadequate a description.
1 Peter 3:15. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.
I began reading and praying like never before. I read to learn about what the Bible says. To answer the whys to what I have been taught. To find answers to questions I had that were never answered or were not allowed to be asked. I did a word study. Using a concordance I found and copied down all the NT verses regarding several subjects. The most important – salvation. I looked up salvation, saved, believe. There are over 100 verses on this subject. All very clear and all agree. Salvation is a gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God)
It’s grace and it’s available to “everyone that believeth.” ( Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference. Jesus’s own words to multiple people, “Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace.” John 3:16-18 and many, many more. I have them written down, if you’d like a copy.)
We’re saved through faith. We can be assured of our salvation (1 John 5:13. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.)
This contradicts what I have been taught.
1. Only people who go to meeting can be saved.
2. There are certain things you have to do for salvation.
3. You can’t know if you are saved until you die.
There is so much love, peace and freedom in knowing and accepting God’s grace. It’s truly peace that passeth understanding. Phil. 4:7. I never had that before I read all these verses. Grace was another word study that was so comforting.
Another important belief – baptism. People accepted Jesus and were baptized. By the thousands even in one day! The only requirement I found was “If thou dost believe with all thine heart, thou may. Acts 8:37. Not an age. Emily was told that if she wasn’t 16 they wouldn’t baptize her. Not a certain amount of time proving yourself. “Repent and be baptized.” Acts 2:38.No human approval was needed. No man should be able to forbid someone from following what Jesus asked us to do. Repent, be baptized and take the emblems. All these things are between us and God. No one else knows what’s in our heart.
Jesus gave us the emblems to “do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19-20. He didn’t say when, where, who, how. He even gave them to Judas, knowing what he would do. Each one is to examine themselves and then partake. 1 Cor. 11:28-29. It’s between us and God. There is no middle man. To prevent a person who is living for Christ from taking the emblems – a command of Christ- is a very dangerous decision. If someone is openly living a life unbecoming to the kingdom of God, partaking in and living in sin, that’s different and there are biblical ways to address that. Even among this fellowship there is inconsistency regarding the emblems. Covered/uncovered. Burned/buried. Can only be taken in a home. Are taken at convention.
Calling our fellowship The Way or The Truth. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
We often hear, “The people aren’t perfect, but the way is.” Yes, He is perfect. This particular way of worship is not. Nor is it even consistent through the ages, from state to state and country to country. This way of worship is full of changes and contradictions. Jesus is unchanging.
John 4:23. But the hour cometh and now is when the true worshipers shall worship him in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
Among the friends and workers, there is a great sneering at and looking down on believers in other churches. Who are we to question some else’s relationship with their Savior? Romans 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
If our life shows fruit, we are children of God. And I know many. Our Christian friends of other churches were the ones who came to us, prayed with us and for us in the worst of times. They offered encouragement and help. With few exceptions, no one from the meeting did that. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:20.
Good works – helping others, etc. Again something that has been despised by us when other Christians do it. In my studying I found it’s biblical. We are created to do good works. We are to be zealous of good works. Ephesians 2:10. Titus 2:14. Shirley Doolittle said in a Bible study where helping the poor was part of the chapter. “We don’t have to help the poor because there are government programs for that.” That is a quote. Good works were another eye opening study for me.
Divorce and remarriage – there are no adulterers in heaven. 1 Cor. 6:9, Heb. 13:4, Rom 7:3, Matt 5:32, 19:9, Luke 16:18. Mark 10:11-12. Galatians 5:19 includes adultery in the works of the flesh. V. 22 they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Workers condone, accept and encourage adultery. You are deceiving people by making them think their soul is safe because they go to meeting. But disregarding the commandments of Jesus. I made a vow – to Pat and to God – and because he broke his, it in no way absolves me of mine. God never goes back on His promises. This false teaching is a disserve to those who use the workers as their Bible and it’s a slap in the face to those living lonely lives because they are being true to their vows. There are no degrees of adultery. You are or you aren’t. We must live a pure life as children of God.
I did a lot of word studies – so helpful. I trust my Bible I trust the Holy Spirit. I cannot be part of a fellowship that doesn’t teach salvation the way Jesus did. The way the NT ministers did. There are so many man-made rules that govern us. No focus on the blood of Christ. No teaching on HOW to be a Christian. Just what not to do and what to look like.
Ministry – In reading through Acts, it’s not just 2×2, unmarried apostles who preached and taught. Many preached and taught. Some apostles were married as were others like Phillip. Some went alone or in groups. No one person told them where to go or for how long. It was a true Spirit-led ministry. In one place the church laid hands on the workers and sent them somewhere. God was trusted to be able to work with believers. There was an urgency to telling the gospel – every day and in every city. They went to find people, not wait to see who would come to them. Last year, from January to September we had 9 gospel meetings in this field. If you really think you’re the only way to heaven, shouldn’t there be some urgency in finding souls?
Church in the home. Also read of them meeting in the temple and synagogues. God doesn’t dwell in buildings made with hands – that would include a house. Many churches meet in homes as well as buildings. We have convention grounds bought and built for that specific purpose. A LOT of time and money (not just the property owners) go into building our convention grounds.
A hireling doesn’t care about the sheep. But taking support doesn’t make you that. Paul took wages of churches and he worked at a job. 2 Cor. 11:8. Acts 18:3. There isn’t a worker who does not have money in their pocket or purse. They also have a lot of other items, many of which the friends themselves cannot afford. Plenty of “unpaid” ministers act like hirelings and plenty of “paid” ones have a heart for souls.
If you have scripture to discuss, I am open to that. If you want to defend teachings and actions without it, please don’t bother. What we think or feel does not matter, only the word of God. There are warnings against taking away from or adding to it.
I hope that those of you I have had friendships of a long time will still remain my friends, but I do know and expect that will not happen for the most part. I have been guilty in the past also, of not maintaining friendships with those who left this fellowship.
Transcript of Recording of California Worker Delivering an Excommunication, December 2016
Worker 1 & Worker 2
C, Z, E, T, B and J – our family
*Exchanges of greetings as everyone gets settled in*
C: So before we start, I was wondering if we could begin with prayer.
Worker 1: Sure, if you want to pray, go ahead.
C: Our Father in heaven, I thank you for bringing us all here safely. And I’m thankful we all can get together to talk through this. And I ask that we all have a spirit of order and of peace, and I ask that you bless our time together. Amen.
C: And two other things that I was kind of curious about before we start talking. First of all I think it’s really important… As a group, we’re all believers, and we need to establish that God’s word is the overarching authority in our meeting, because, otherwise, we’re just kind of talking about our opinions. So can we all kind of acknowledge that?
Worker 1: Yeah, that’s fine.
T: No problem for me
C: So that’s good. And then… What was the third thing I was going to say?
E: Urn, you were going to ask what the point was.
T: Oh, the purpose.
C: Oh, yeah. So, do we have, like, an overall goal structure to what we are trying to accomplish with meeting in this house today?
Worker 1: Well, we have a few things to talk over
Worker 1: We’ll just leave it at that for now.
B: But if, like, we all agree, well… we want to do this scripturally. But then, everybody isn’t here, so that’s not according to scripture.
Worker 1: Everybody’s not here?
B: Well, we don’t know who said that J had caused a problem in the meeting. And, they weren’t invited, so…
Elder: Um, can I speak to this?
Worker 1: Sure.
Elder: You know, I know J that you didn’t like my answer last night. But you’re going to have to assume that it was me that felt, um, a concern about your statements that one meeting.
T: You weren’t in the meeting.
Elder: But, the other thing too, I don’t think it’s helpful in any way to bring anybody else here. I just can’t imagine in what way that makes this better.
B: Except that it’s scriptural.
J: When Paul was taken before Felix, he said bring the accusers, then I’ll hear. And the same with Festus. Agrippa said that it is unreasonable to try someone without hearing what their crimes are. That’s all in the Bible.
Worker 1: So why don’t we just leave that point, and we’ll just not talk about that, what happened in that meeting.
Worker 1: Why don’t we just leave that point and we’ll not talk about what happened in that meeting. We’ll just forget that.
Worker 1: Because they’re not here.
B: And that’s why this meeting isn’t scriptural.
Worker 1: That’s not what we’re here to talk about.
E: Well you didn’t say what we’re here to talk about.
J: That’s what I asked you.
Worker 1: Yeah, that’s what we’re still getting there. There’s a couple things. One thing is, maybe the biggest thing is, that I don’t feel like you folks agree with the doctrine that we bring.
J: Which doctrine is that?
Worker 1: Well, our doctrine we. Our. Our doctrine. Jesus’ doctrine. And I’ve…we get that feeling because we’ve heard from several of the friends that you’ve been…That you’ve said that you don’t come because we teach false doctrine. I’ve read where you’ve said that we teach false doctrine. And the friends down in (city) said that said you don’t come any more because we teach false doctrine. And nobody here comes to gospel meetings anymore, and I assume that it’s because you feel that we teach false doctrine. Is that true?
J: I’ll tell you why I quit coming. The last gospel meeting that I was in, when I listened to you speak, you read the first part of Mathew 7, “judge not, that you be not judged,” and you said this does not mean what it says. You proceeded to put your spin on it, and then you…
Worker 1: I. That. Um, ok. Let’s just get to this. You don’t agree with my doctrine, that’s what I’m asking.
J: No, you didn’t agree with what the Lord said there.
Worker 1: OK.
J: And in another place, you were talking about the two that wanted to be glorified and sit on each side of Christ. And you said they didn’t want to be glorified, they just wanted to be as close to Christ as possible. There again, you’re putting your spin on reality.
Worker 1: So you don’t agree with my doctrine.
J: That’s what I have a problem with.
Worker 1: You don’t agree with what we bring to the meetings.
C: Well I think there’s an important distinction to be made here.
Worker 1: I’m asking J.
J: You keep saying I don’t agree with your doctrine. That’s true. But what Jesus preached I accept as truth.
Worker 1: How about you T?
T: I agree with everything Jesus taught, but I’ve heard false teaching from workers, yes.
Worker 1: From me?
T: I wasn’t in that meeting.
N: From (worker)?
T: From (worker), definitely. From (another worker), yeah.
B: From other workers at convention this year.
N: How about you, Z?
Worker 1: E?
E: Yeah, I disagree with a lot of things that have been going on.
Worker 1: Well I guess that just simplifies everything, in that if you don’t agree with our doctrine, then the rest of the people here do. The rest of the meeting do; the rest of the friends in (city) do. And there’s no fellowship. And so, if you don’t agree with what we bring, then there can’t be fellowship.
T: Can I ask you a question?
N: And so then, there’s two different spirits in the meeting. There’s one that agrees, and there’s one that doesn’t agree. And so there’s no fellowship.
E: But we all agree with Jesus.
Worker 1: So, what I’m going to say is if, if you don’t agree with our doctrine, it’d be better for you to go and find someplace that you do agree with. Our doctrine’s not going to change.
E: But it’s Jesus’s doctrine you should be teaching, not your own.
Worker 1: So go find a doctrine you agree with.
T: Why aren’t you teaching Jesus’s doctrine?
Worker 1: Well I believe we are.
J: How can you say
T: Well you keep calling it your doctrine
Worker 1: It’s the doctrine we bring.
J: How can you say you’re following His doctrine when you allow (person’s) situation when Christ says that’s wrong?
Worker 1: J, if you don’t agree with it, you need to go somewhere else.
T: So, in June, we were in a Bible study. I don’t remember the chapter, it was in Matthew [Matthew 25], when Jesus talks about helping the poor and such. (Worker) was in our meeting and she got up and she said: “we don’t need to do that anymore, because there’s government programs that help poor people.” That is a direct contradiction to the words of Jesus. That is false doctrine. If you are contradicting what Jesus said, it is false doctrine.
Worker 1: So maybe you don’t want fellowship with (worker) anymore. Maybe you should find someplace else.
T: I’m asking you how that’s not false doctrine.
Worker 1: I’m not going to justify what (worker) said, I wasn’t there. I didn’t. I wasn’t there. But if you can’t have fellowship with (worker), maybe you should go somewhere else. There’s two spirits in the meeting. The meeting is happy, but you folks aren’t happy. And you bring a different spirit to the meeting. And there is no fellowship there, it can’t continue that way.
Z: And you speak to there being no change in the doctrine, but depending on which state you go to, is how divorce and remarriage are taught.
Worker 1: That’s…that’s. You can go to any state you want, I don’t care.
Z: But then it’s changing.
Worker 1. So, I haven’t changed. We haven’t changed.
T: What he’s saying is the doctrine that Jesus preached has been changed, and that’s where
Z: And they’re all considered part of the meetings.
Worker 1: And so, if that’s what you want to believe, then go where you want. I think you’ve already made your choice Z.
J: You know, back in the midwest where my sister lives, there’s still a few people who believe that what Jesus taught is right. Everybody else has gone the other way. You can marry each other’s husbands and wives with no problem. But you’re saying…
Worker 1: I’m not saying any of that’s right.
J: You’re not saying that’s right?
Worker 1: No, but…
J: Yet you’re saying it’s your doctrine.
Worker 1: No, that’s not my doctrine
J: You’re saying that’s Christ’s doctrine?
Worker 1: No, I’m not saying that’s Christ’s doctrine.
J: You’re saying if we don’t like it, get lost.
Worker 1: I’m saying if you can’t agree with what we bring, then you don’t need to come anymore. No one is making you come. You folks have chosen not to come because you don’t agree. You folks have chosen not to come to gospel meeting. You’ve chosen to walk out of gospel meeting because you don’t agree. So if you don’t agree, nobody is making you come. It’d be better if you don’t come.
J: I’m sure you feel that way. That doesn’t make what you’re saying right.
Worker 1: Maybe not.
J: I will never believe that anything different from what Jesus preached about adultery is going to be right.
Worker 1: Yeah, I agree with you.
J: You’re saying if I don’t believe what you’re doing’s right, go somewhere else.
Worker 1: Mmm. Because the spirit you bring does not match the rest of the meeting. And if you can’t, if you can’t agree with and respect the ministry, then there’s no, there’s no fellowship. You need to find some place you can agree with.
J: There’s a lot of people in the ministry that I have the greatest respect for. There’s still a few that preach exactly what Jesus said, and they uphold it.
Worker 1: Yeah… We’re not going to change J. We’re not going to change for you.
J: I’m not asking you to change, just don’t ask me to believe what’s wrong is right.
Worker 1: I’m not, I’m not. I’m just saying, if you don’t agree with us, you can go anywhere you want. Because we’re not going to change.
E: Are we going to be saved if we go somewhere else?
Worker 1: That’s between you and God, that’s not…
E: I’m asking what you think.
Worker 1: It doesn’t matter what I think.
E: What does the Bible say on it?
Worker 1: It doesn’t matter what the Bible…
*A lot of exclamations “It does matter what the Bible says!’
Worker 1: Said that wrong didn’t I…
Worker 1: It doesn’t matter what I think.
E: What does the Bible say on it?
Worker 1: You can read the Bible.
E: No, I’ve read the Bible. You tell me, you’re supposed to be our minister.
Worker 1: I’m not going to, I’m not going to tell you. I’m not your minister, you quit coming.
E: Grandpa’s not, grandma’s not.
Worker 1: Yeah they quit coming too.
E: -So you’re their minister, so tell them what the Bible says.
Worker 1: No.
E: Why not?
T: As a minister of God, when someone asks you what the Bible says, you’re going to refuse to answer?
Worker 1: In this case, yes.
Elder: You know, at the beginning, C asked that we would keep this respectful.
E: Have I been disrespectful?
T: We’re asking for an answer from the Bible.
Elder: I think we’re all coming to an understanding here, and let’s be respectful
E: I asked a simple question
Elder: Of everyone.
E: I’m being perfectly
Worker 1: And I told you a very simple answer, that’s between you and God. Your salvation is between you and God.
E: I asked you what the Bible says about salvation, you…
Worker 1: You can read the Bible as well as I can.
E: Refused to tell me. I can, and I do.
Worker 1: Ok, good. So you know then.
E: But you have not answered my question.
Worker 1: And I’m not going to.
E: Why not?
N: Because I don’t need to.
E: Why will you not tell me what the Bible says?
*A long silence*
B: I know you weren’t here Tuesday night, but I have some questions of some things Elder said. Number one, J asked him if Jesus died for (person). Elder wouldn’t answer that.
Worker 1: Jesus died for everyone.
B: But Elder did not answer that.
Worker 1: Ok
B: And he also made the statement that gospel meetings are more important than the fellowship meetings, where the emblems are. True or false?
Worker 1: They’re both important.
B: Which is most important? Bearing in mind that there are lots of people who don’t have the privilege
Worker 1: I don’t think. You can’t. You can’t separate the two. They go together.
B: We don’t use the emblems at our gospel meetings.
Worker 1: No.
B: That’s what makes our fellowship meetings most important.
Worker 2: Before there were ever fellowship meeting, there were gospel meetings. It’s the result of the gospel, people meeting around the emblems. It’s the result of the life and teaching of Jesus.
Worker 1: and if you can’t agree with the gospel meetings, then there’s no fellowship in the meetings anyway. In the fellowship meeting. It’s not fellowship if there’s two different spirits.
J: You can’t say that because we hear something that’s not scriptural we have to agree with it, otherwise we are in the wrong spirit.
Worker 1: No, I’m just saying if you don’t like…If you don’t agree with what you hear, you need to find someplace where you can agree with.
J: There’s no place where the doctrine of Jesus is followed perfectly, to my knowledge. And it’s more and more becoming that way among what you all assure us is the truth. The big mess back in the midwest is quickly working its way out here.
Worker 1: Nothing’s changed here. Nothing’s going to change here.
J: You’re going along with the same thing, only you’re just saying in this case it’s alright.
Worker 1 If that’s what you believe, that’s fine.
J: That’s what you’re saying
Worker 1: No. If that’s what you believe, that’s fine. I’m not going to tell you what you have to believe J.
J: You told T that all the workers got together and decided it was fine, if you were in that situation before you professed.
Worker 1: I didn’t tell her that.
T: Yes you did.
Worker 1: There was a meeting, and that’s how they decided it would be handled. But they didn’t say anybody would be fine, but that’s how it’s going to be handled. That’s how it is handled here. That’s how it will be handled here.
J: I know why (worker) didn’t go along with that.
Worker 1: He sure did.
J: No. We were in a young folks meeting when they were small, and he brought that subject up. And he said some believe that that situation is ok. But he said, I have to tell people I can’t guarantee your salvation because what you’re doing is contrary to what Jesus taught.
Worker 1: I can’t guarantee anybody’s salvation.
J: You’re purposely obscuring the point Worker 1, so there is no point in continuing.
Worker 1: I can’t. I can’t. I can’t guarantee my own salvation.
J: That’s not what I’m telling you, and you know it.
Worker 1: And I can’t guarantee anybody’s situation in that, in that situation. Because I don’t know, it’s between them and God, just like it is with E. And I don’t agree with everything, but the doctrine is not going to change. We have not changed. There’s nothing changed. It’s not going to change.
J: You’re not following what Jesus said if you’re accepting the…
Worker 1: So, J. It just comes down to this. If you can’t accept us. And you can’t accept what we teach. Then don’t come. It’s not what we’ve chosen for you, it’s what you’re choosing.
J: No, that’s what you’re choosing.
Worker 1: And it…And it…Yeah. It’s not what we wanted for you. It’s not what we wanted for any of you.
J: You’re saying, no matter what we say, you have to agree with it or you can’t come.
Worker 1: No, that’s not what I was saying. If I’ve said something wrong. If we were not living right, if we were not teaching what we believe is right, then that’s true. But if you can’t accept us. What we bring. Then no, no.
J: You read that verse “don’t give that which is holy unto the dogs, or cast your pearls before swine.” And you said “our meetings are precious and holy, and we’re going to keep them that way.
Worker 1: Mmm
J: So evidently, that’s what your opinion of C is. Is that true?
Worker 1 How do you get that?
J: Because that’s what you were talking about.
Worker 1: So now you know what I’m thinking about?
J: You know what I’m thinking about?
E: He said that’s what you were talking about, not thinking about.
J: That’s what you said.
Worker 1: Anyway…
J: And you looked right at me when you said it, and I saw a lot of self-righteousness and arrogance. To me, that’s not the spirit of Christ.
Worker: I’m sorry if you feel that way.
C: I kind of have a hard time understanding the basic concept here. Um, we agreed that, that God’s word says what it says. It’s the authority. Um, and, if we’re all on the same page here, we all believe that the Bible…
Worker 1: We’re not. We’re not:
C: -The same page would be that the Bible is the standard. I think we all believe that here.
Worker 1: Yeah, that’s right.
C: And so, if something is heard in a meeting that contradicts the Bible, I don’t think the solution to that is to tell that person they have to agree. The proper solution is to compare what was said to what the Bible says, and work it out. And I don’t that’s what’s being done here obviously. You’re saying if these folks don’t agree with what you’re saying, regardless of whether it’s scriptural, they need to leave. It should be if they don’t agree with what the Bible says, then they need to leave. And I think there’s a bit of a difference between those two,
Worker 1: I, how many of our gospel meetings have you been in?
C: Well, I’ve attended Sunday morning meeting quite a bit.
Worker 1: I asked about gospel meetings.
C: Gospel meetings…
E: He’s attended 3 conventions in a row, at least. Four I think?
Worker 1: Gospel meetings, Gospel meetings.
E: Convention is a gospel meeting.
C: Three. Three. I’ve been to three. Most of them were before you were in this field.
Worker 1: If you came to our gospel meetings you’d, you’d know our doctrine.
C: So convention doesn’t give me a good idea of your doctrine? With all the workers there?
Worker 1: Yeah, it probably does. It probably does. Ok.
C: So I would say four conventions in a row is probably a decent understanding of, of doctrine. The rudimentary.
Worker 1: I don’t know. I don’t know.
C: Ok. That’s a lot of hours, that’s probably. How many gospel meetings is that, going to four conventions in a row?
Worker 1: Yeah I don’t know.
B: So are you basically telling me, that I am not welcome at Elder’s anymore for meeting?
Worker 1: Yeah, I think it’s come to that.
B: But what have I said, or done?
Worker 1: B, I didn’t know where you stood when we came. I didn’t know if you agreed with your husband. And I don’t know if you do agree with your husband, that we teach false doctrine. But if you agree with your husband that we teach false doctrine, then no, you wouldn’t be welcome. And I don’t, I don’t know where you stand.
B: It doesn’t have anything to do with my husband, I have heard false things said in gospel meetings.
Worker 1: Ok. By us?
B: Yes. And by other workers. And it doesn’t change the fact that I need to be in a fellowship meeting. Has my spirit been a detriment to the meeting, Elder?
Elder: I’m going to go back to what we talked about on Tuesday. And that’s, the assumption is when you walk through that door for fellowship meeting… you know, I mean, it’s for fellowship, it’s to celebrate the life of Jesus. But there’s also an assumption that Worker 2 and Worker 1 are the ordained servants of God, and they’re here to guide the flock. And…
B: But what does that have to do with me?
Elder: Well, um….look I’m feeling kind of everything, but obviously you’re not feeling the same way.
B: I asked you a flat out question. Has my spirit ever been a detriment to our Sunday morning meeting?
*Long silence while Elder looks to Worker 1 for help answering*
Worker 1: Yeah, I don’t know. But…
C: You keep saying that.
B: But Elder’s been there every. Almost every Sunday I’ve been there
Elder: Right. Um…. I think it comes down to, uh B, that, um, it’s, it’s been hard to tell. Um, and maybe… um, you come as a family unit. And I’ve actually kind of been, uh. what..I haven’t known where exactly you stood upon all of this. And so, um…
B: No, you haven’t known my, my stand on this.
B: But. From what I can recall, my spirit has not been contentious in meeting.
Elder: I can’t think of a specific incident, no, at all.
Worker 1: B, I think you’re right. And I. We have questions when we came. We don’t know where you stand. And it’s. We don’t know. I don’t know where you stand. I don’t. I can’t say you’ve been a problem in the meeting. I can’t say you’ve rejected us, like the others have. I don’t know where you stand.
E: So Worker 1, you’re saying that I’ve been a problem in meeting, correct? That’s what you just said. Yes or no?
Worker 1: You haven’t been in the meeting.
E and Z: “I’ve been in the meetings for twenty years” “We’ve been there for years”
Worker 1: Yeah, but you’ve quit.
E: Ok, that was two months ago.
Worker 1: Yeah, that’s right.
E: I came two weeks ago, or two or three weeks ago.
Worker 1: Right, and we…
E: So Elder, did I bring a bad spirit?
Elder: E, um. And maybe there wasn’t a lot of questions that you wanted answered last Tuesday. But I kind of feel the same way, in now, um, there’s certain things you want me to answer or maybe Worker 1 to answer, but it distracts from, really, the central tenet of the point of why we’re here.
E: no, because your point is that…
Worker 1: E…
E: My family and I have been a bad influence on your meeting. A bad spirit in your meeting. So I’m asking directly. Two weeks ago…
Worker 1: You. You have rejected us.
E: I’m asking Elder something.
Worker 1: ok.
E: if that’s ok.
Elder: you haven’t come to the meetings
E: I came two weeks ago. Did I bring a bad spirit?
Elder: Um, I asked if you were going to come back, and you said no.
B: But you didn’t answer her question.
E: You asked if I was going to be there next week, and I said no.
B: Did she bring a bad spirit?
E: Was anything I said wrong?
Elder: Umn, we’ve…
E: Was my prayer blasphemous? Was I distracting?
Elder: You know, it comes down again. Do you believe that Worker 2 and Worker 1 are the ordained servants of God and that they are here to guide the flock?
E: I believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
Elder: Ok. Well, um…
E: And I believe that Worker 2 and Worker 1 are preachers of God.
Elder: I know you’re, you’re getting frustrated because I’m not giving you a yes or no answer, but at the same time, you’re not giving me a yes or no answer.
E: Ok, yes. I believe that they are preachers of God. I also believe…
Worker 1: I’m going to say that you don’t believe that, because if you believe that you’d be in the gospel meetings.
E: I also believe that what you say is not always right. I believe that you should be sticking to the Bible more than you do. I also believe that the workers are not the only people qualified to teach the word of God.
Elder: I. I personally feel that we’re getting distracted here again, because if you do feel that way, umn, then as Worker 1 said, you don’t have to come.
E: I don’t have to come, but I answered your yes or no question.
Worker 1: And more than that, it’s better that you don’t come.
C: Well, my understanding, is that the reason that you’re saying that these folks are not welcome in your meeting is because they bring a different spirit. That’s been said a couple times.
Worker 1: That’s part of it, that’s part of it.
C: And yet there’s been several people who have asked, point blank, “Have I brought a negative spirit to the meeting”, and you guys haven’t answered yes. So that doesn’t make sense to me.
Worker 2: I guess I feel that T and J have brought a negative spirit to the meeting.
J: How? What caused you to arrive at that? Can you speak a little louder please?
Worker 2: I guess the last time I was in meeting with you just felt, weird and awkward. And…
Worker 1: J you’ve been angry in every meeting since we’ve visited with you two or three months ago. You haven’t spoken with me since then.
J: Since when?
Worker 1: Since we visited with you two or three months ago.
J: Every meeting I went to and you were there, I shook your hand and greeted you. Is that true or false?
Worker 1: No, not every meeting. Some of the meetings you didn’t.
J: the ones I left early maybe. Ok, you got me on a technicality there.
Worker 1: No, special meeting, special meeting. It doesn’t matter, it’s…That’s not the issue. That’s not the issue.
J: So what? What was my crime?
Worker 1: That’s not the issue either.
B: What is the issue?
Worker 1: The issue is, you folks
J: They want us gone, that’s the issue.
Worker 1: No, we want you right. But you’re not right. And you’re not willing to become right. And so there is no fellowship. You’ve rejected us, as the ministry. And yet you want fellowship with God’s people, and the two don’t work. It doesn’t work that way.
T: We’ve rejected some of the false things that were said. That’s not a complete rejection of everybody and everything.
Worker 1: T, you’ve rejected us. You’ve quit coming to the meetings because you believe it’s false doctrine. You’ve rejected…
T: Because I’ve heard false doctrine, yes.
Worker 2: You’ve rejected us. You’ve rejected us as the ministry, and our doctrine. So there’s no fellowship. You can’t have both. And I think we can say that about everyone here. I don’t know about B.
T: So what are we supposed to do when something contradicts Jesus’s teaching.
Worker 1: Maybe you could just be responsible for your own life.
Z: That’s pretty much what we’ve done.
Worker 1: Yeah, that’s right.
E: She’s bringing her eleven-year-old daughter to these meetings, and it’s not right if you have to go home and say, this isn’t.
Worker 1: and even (daughter) is talking about false teaching. False doctrine.
T: Yes, she is. Because we, I told her that’s why we weren’t going to gospel meeting. Do you know how many times when (worker) was here, the four of us had to sit down with our Bibles, and read what the Bible actually said, compared to what he said in meeting?
Worker 1: You know what, I respect (worker), and i don’t believe that. I don’t believe (worker) taught false doctrine.
B: Oh but he did. I wish now I had written down dates and…
Worker 1: Yeah.
J: He gave us the scenario of
Worker 1: Yeah, ok. That’s alright, I wasn’t
T: But you still didn’t answer my question. When there is a contradiction to the teaching of Jesus, what are you supposed to do?
C: He said to be responsible for your own life. I think that was an answer. Which is kind of strange considering that, I thought that it would be your responsibility to shepherd the flock. Which directly contradicts telling someone to be responsible for their own life. If you’re the ministers of God, would you not be responsible for other people’s proper understanding of His word?
Worker 1: That’s what we do, but they won’t accept it.
C: That directly contradicts what you just said, “to be responsible for your own life.”
Worker 1: I don’t believe that I’ve taught false doctrine. I haven’t taught false doctrine. They say I have. So there’s a contradiction there.
C: What does the Bible say? You’re saying everything you preach matches up with God’s word?
Worker 1: That’s what I believe. That’s what the friends here believe.
B. But not if you quote what Jesus said, and say that’s not what he meant.
B: Well it’s not even a matter of belief, it’s black and white.
Worker 1: And maybe that’s just how you’ve taken it
J: Well the gospel I believe is what you read about in Galatians 1, where Paul says “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Worker 1: And I can say the same thing. But you won’t accept that, and so we don’t have anything in common.
J: All the other apostles thought Paul was wrong. They sent a delegation down there to tell him what he was doing was the wrong thing. But he didn’t even commune with any of the apostles. It was three years before he went up and saw Peter and spent a couple of weeks with him. And then he saw James once. And then it was fourteen more years before he saw any of the other apostles. Yet somehow, just preaching what Christ revealed to him, it did what God wanted it to do. He didn’t have to conform to the rules and regulations they were following, he just preached Christ.
Worker 1: I don’t know what else to say. I…
J: Well, I want to thank you both for the way you’re spending your lives. That’s the most noble way you can spend a human life, trying to bring others to Christ. And I just want to encourage you to just preach Christ, and let the Lord do the work. And I want to thank you for all the meetings we’ve been in your home. There’s been bread that fed our hearts and has been an encouragement. We’ve appreciated it.
Worker 1: I want to tell you folks you’re still more than welcome to come to the gospel meetings and to come to convention and to special meeting. But maybe don’t take part at convention and special meeting. But please come to the gospel meetings. But please don’t come to the fellowship meetings anymore.
B: Does that include me?
Worker 1: If you want to come, B, I think you can come. I know from the beginning you didn’t agree with J, when we’ve been with you.
B: On some things, I don’t.
Worker 1: Ok, well. We’ll just leave it like this. If you can accept us as the true ministry. If you can accept our doctrine. Then you can come.
B: But I can’t accept when you have said something wrong in a gospel meeting. We’re not supposed to. When you quote scripture and then say that’s not what it means, to me that is wrong.
Worker 1: I don’t believe I’ve taught anything wrong.
B: Well, like J said, you quoted that, and then said “That isn’t what He meant”
Worker 1: I don’t think I said that. I might have said something along those lines, but that… but, I don’t believe I’ve taught wrong doctrine.
Worker 2: Yeah, I don’t, I don’t believe Worker 2 has either. He hasn’t come to the meeting with the intention of teaching something that false. And I haven’t either come to the meeting with the intention of teaching something that is false. But, I know I have made mistakes, I haven’t always said what’s right. And uh, I know that even before I stand up I, I don’t know how this is going to go. It’s just gonna. I just need help, but. And I wouldn’t be there if I didn’t believe that Tis is God’s way. This is God’s ministry. I believe He’s called me. I know that His spirit is here. I wouldn’t speak in the meeting if I didn’t believe God’s spirit was in the meeting. ‘Cause that’s what makes the difference in our meetings. The spirit of God is there. So when there are. There are. There will be mistakes. There will be things that are wrong. That will happen. But if the spirit of God is there, he can make the message, specifically for each of us, what we need to hear. And if we believe that the spirit of God is there, then that’s. That’s really all we need. ‘Cause we can, we can go somewhere else where they say everything is perfect. But the spirit of God is not there. And you know where the spirit of God isn’t, they’re not living it either. And there was a gospel meeting last night, and I believe the spirit of God was there.
Worker 1: Spirit of God was there.
Worker 2: And maybe you don’t. So maybe that’s where we differ. The spirit of God was there, that’s where I want to be. So those that meet in Elder’s home, they believe the spirit of God is in gospel meeting. They esteem the ministry. So that’s. The people with that kind of spirit, they can have fellowship together. That’s all Worker 1’s saying. He’s saying this. It’s not like anybody’s being pushed out, it’s like, there will not be fellowship. It doesn’t work if you believe different things. So, yeah, I feel bad. I just, I just feel bad that you are at this situation, but you know, this isn’t the end of the story.
J: That’s right.
Worker 2: There can be a wonderful end to the story. Fellowship. That’s what everybody in Elder’s meeting, including Elder, wants. A wonderful fellowship. A wonderful end to this story. And not one that’s filled with *couldn’t hear the remainder of the sentence*. That’s not what they want. They’re saying two spirits cannot meet.
J: What have I done to cause discord, in your opinion?
Worker 2: I didn’t say you caused discord, because we can get into a war of words. That’s, I’m just saying…
J: I’m not getting into a war, I’m just…
Worker 2: I believe the spirit of God was there yesterday in the gospel meeting. That’s all I’m saying.
J: I believe the Spirits been in the meetings at Elder’s, otherwise we would not have been there.
Worker 2: But what about the gospel meeting last night?
J: I didn’t go to the gospel meeting last night.
Worker 1: No, you folks have made your choice then.
Worker 2: That’s what I’m saying, there’s a difference.
Worker 1: I’m sorry, I’m sorry it’s been that way.
Z: So you say
Elder: B, Um. I think, actually, Worker 1 gave you a really good answer as far as continuing with the fellowship meetings, because if you feel that if what they’re preaching is correct. In Jesus’ teachings. Uh, he’s already said you’re welcome to the fellowship meeting. But if you feel that doctrine…that what they’re saying is not true doctrine, then better for you to not come to the fellowship meeting. So that’s going to be a choice for you.
Elder: And, and
T: but it’s…
Elder: We’ll know, We’ll know if you come. We can talk about it all day long here. But if you come, you know, then we’ll know what your decision was. And if you don’t come, then we’ll know what your decision was.
T: But it’s not a, it’s not a rejection of the entire ministry. It’s not a rejection of Jesus’ doctrine
Elder: There won’t be fellowship there, T.
T: -the problem is, when something is taught that is false.
T: So are you saying we have to believe that?
Elder: I actually think Worker 1 gave your mom very good guidelines of what it means to continue going to those fellowship meetings, and I think that was, uh, a very straight answer.
T: Ok, I guess I missed the straight part.
Z: So you say that you can have another church where everything that’s taught is exactly correct and exactly the way it’s supposed to be, but the spirit of God isn’t going to be there, but the Bible says where two or three are gathered in my name, I will be there with them.
Worker 2: Jesus said do as they say, not as they do. He said that about the Pharisees
Z: Yes, but if what, if what they’re teaching
Worker 2: I believe. I’m just going to tell you what I believe. I believe this is the ministry. You won’t find people living like this anywhere else, going out in this way. I believe that, and I’m basing my life on it. Do you know how… Like my whole future, I’m basing that on. That’s why I’m here, I would be somewhere else if I didn’t believe that.
T: I have great respect for that.
Worker 2: So, this is what I believe and that’s all I can say.
T: But the problem hasn’t been with the ministry, it’s been with some specific teachings that have been wrong. Not, not the ministry. I have never heard. You’ve always been very. You preach the Bible.
Worker 2: And that’s the thing, I’ve said things that are wrong to. You make mistakes.
T: But this was, this isn’t making mistakes. It’s a whole teaching of….
Worker 2: I’m saying Worker 1 and no one in the meeting ever intentionally wanted to teach
Worker 1: T, it’s not. It’s not. We’ll say it’s not that they were wrong, it’s that you think they were wrong. And we’re going to have to leave it at that. You’ve chosen to believe they were wrong, that’s your choice. Now you have to… chose.
T: Well if it contradicts what Jesus taught, yes I do believe it’s wrong
Worker 1: So you’ve made your choice. That’s, that’s fine. I think we’re done. I don’t… I’m sorry. I’m sorry this is the way it’s been.
Anonymous Account #5
December 7, 2016